M.itfavorit Spain was disenchanted at the start of the European Championship by equally destructive and cool Swedes. The three-time European football champion and World Cup champion from 2010 did not go beyond a meager 0-0 on this Monday evening in Seville with summer temperatures of 30 degrees. Coach Luis Enrique’s team kept desperate at the catenaccio of the Scandinavians, who fought for a point with a lot of heart and passion.
However, the three-crown team around RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg and Werder Bremen’s Ludwig Augustinsson were also lucky in front of 10,559 fans at the Estadio La Cartuja, because the clearly superior Spaniards pursued great usury. In stoppage time, substitutes Gerard Moreno and Pablo Sarabia gave up two top-class opportunities to win. The Iberians meet Poland in the next group E group game. The Swedes, who first survived the group stage at a European Championship (2004), are up against Slovakia.
The hosts have not noticed anything from the corona excitement in the past few days. After a positive test with captain Sergio Busquets, who was missing, like the Swedes Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg, part of the team was vaccinated shortly before the start of the tournament – apparently without any side effects.
The home side dominated the game from the start and pushed the passive Northern Europeans, who hardly ever got over the middle line in the early stages, deep into their half. The Spanish dominance in this phase was somewhat reminiscent of the 6-0 win against Germany in November 2020 in the Nations League.
After half an hour, the Spaniards had 80 percent possession. At the break, the balance of successful passes was 430: 69. Since the introduction of data collection in 1980, never before had a team played so many passes in one half in a European Championship match.
Only the gates were missing. Dani Olmo from the German championship runner-up RB Leipzig had the first chance to take the lead after a good quarter of an hour. The 23-year-old, who was the most conspicuous offensive player of his team in the first half, failed with his header at the strongly reacting Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
After that, Koke forgave twice from a auspicious position. But Alvaro Morata had the best opportunity: The striker, who was generally unlucky, was suddenly completely free in front of Olsen after a positional error by the Swedes, but flicked the ball just past the goal.
The negligence in the conclusion almost took revenge shortly before the break, when the former Dortmund Alexander Isak caused a moment of shock. The Swedish attacker’s shot struck Spain defender Marcos Llorente in the shin, hit the post and then into the arms of goalkeeper Unai Simón, who had been given preference over the experienced David de Gea. On the other side, Olmo failed again at Olsen. So it went goalless into the cabins.
After the change, the momentum of the hosts flagged increasingly in humid and warm weather. The ball was now played more in width than in depth, which made work easier for the Swedish defense. Spanish chances were now rare.
Rather, the outsider was very close after a good hour of the tour. Isak danced out three opponents in the penalty area and served his strike partner Marcus Berg, but the former HSV professional missed miserably from close range. Shortly afterwards he had to leave his place to Robin Quaison from Mainz. However, the Swedes no longer provided offensive accents in the final phase. For this the Spaniards stepped up again, but could not reward themselves.